Aerosoft released an update to their Manhattan X product that added the latest construction progress of the new World Trade Center and I released a new airport down in central Jersey by the shore. Since the Bonanza V-tail was still parked up at Greenwood Lake (4N1) I decided to take a VFR flight down the Hudson to cruise past the new WTC buildings and then continue down the NJ coast to visit the newly-designed Lakewood Airport (N12).
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Things got right off to a rough start as I couldn't seem to start the Bonanza on the ramp at 4N1. I went through the checklist twice and double checked my controls and instruments twice as well, but when I switched the key on the engine would turn over but refuse to catch. It may be because I think my last flight in the Bonanza used a freeware wear and tear mod, and I had since uninstalled it so there may have been something the mod set that I couldn't change to get the engine to catch. So I switched aircraft to the Cessna 172, it fired up just fine then I switched back over to the V-tail and the engine kept running, which is why I think it was that damage mod I uninstalled.
Taxi and departure were routine, and I was in a turning climb up to my cruising altitude in no time. I leveled off smoothly at 2500' and turned southeast to intercept the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee Bridge. I was flying completely VFR but I couldn't help glancing down at the REX moving map every now and then. I normally don't zoom in close so I can't use it effectively to tell me where I am but this time I had and when I looked at it I realized I must not have turned south enough because I was over the border into NY! As I went to bank further south I looked out my left window and saw the Tappan Zee, which meant I had been on track and the REX map was a few miles off. I should just trust my own navigation better
Once I had the Tappan Zee in sight I began to descend and slow down to prepare to penetrate the Hudson VFR corridor that allows me to travel through NYC airspace unmolested by ATC. I ran through my entry checklist and was right on the numbers, trimmed out steady as I cruised past the first mandatory report point. I made it all the way to mid town Manhattan before I hit a bit of chop and was too slow cutting back the throttle - it bounced me up to 1300' which is 101' higher than I'm allowed to be. I wonder if ATC would have squawked at me in real life but probably not, I wasn't there for long although to get back down I had to cut throttle way back since I also have to remain under 140kts. I throttled back so far in fact the gear warning light and tone came on as I was below 1500' and the plane thought I was trying to land with my gear up! I realized afterwards though I needn't have had to throttle back so drastically - I was trying to keep the needle under 140 but I was looking at the MPH reading not the KTS reading! Geeez.
Now, since it took me a while to get off the ground and I had to be at work in under an hour, once I cleared the SFRA by passing over the Verrazano Bridge I throttled up to full and began to climb up over 2000' so I could fly straight over Sandy Hook's wildlife protection zone and make a beeline down the coast for my destination. Of course I was nearly to 2000' before I remembered the reason I like to go around Sandy Hook rather than over is because climbing above the wildlife protection zone also puts me in NYC airspace, whose floor is 1500' in this area. So I radioed NY Approach for Bravo airspace transition and continued on my merry way. Man that's two potential times I could have ticked off ATC in real life.
Descent and approach to Lakewood was uneventful. I tuned to KBLM for a weather report as I passed by and noted the wind, selected my landing runway, checked the pattern and set up to fly over the airport so I could double-check the sock before turning on my approach. There was no other traffic on approach so I lined up, intercepted the PAPI glide slope and brought her down. I flew a pretty sloppy pattern but ended up aligned alright. I flared a bit early and coasted down the runway a bit before finally landing and bounced once as well. Had to stand on the brakes a bit to exit the runway but didn't flip the airplane at least. I have Accu-Feel installed and boy did those brakes let me know I was abusing them, haha.
The WTC update is quite comprehensive and a fly-by only showed off the buildings. I'm thinking tomorrow I'll take a helicopter up and explore it a bit more fully.